At a glance: the 2013 Budget
COLA increase: EUR 4.08
Excise duty on cigarettes: +6%
Excise duty on tobacco: +8%
Cement: +EUR5 per tonne
Duty on petrol, diesel: +2c per litre
Introducing Budget 2013: L-Ghazla Responsabbli, Minister for Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech told MPs that the Maltese economy was expected to grow by 1.2% in 2012.
On the other hand, the EU economy was expected to shrink by 0.4% during this year.
During 2012, a number of economic sectors experienced a growth in value added. These included financial services, ICT, professional, technical and scientific services, as well as arts, entertainment and leisure.
Malta was experiencing very positive results in tourism while a number of factories had announced expansions.
During 2012, Malta had an unemployment rate of 6.5%.
Fenech said that this was the fifth lowest unemployment in Europe.
According to the Finance Minister, unemployment in the EU stood at 10.5% and 11.4% in the Eurozone.
Economy and Job creation
Malta had strengthened its financial position during 2012, leading the European Commission to close its Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDF) against it.
Fenech announced a draft bill that will propose the adoption of a “modern, transparent framework to strengthen fiscal consolidation”.
The 12-month moving inflation in September 2012 had gone down to 2.3%.
As expected, the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2013 is EUR4.08. This is the second highest wage increase in the past two years. Only in 2010 the COLA increase was actually higher – EUR 5.82.
Employment, enterprise and tourism.
Since 2008, 167 industrial projects were approved, carrying an investment of EUR355 million, creating 3,860 jobs over three years.
Fenech explained that during this period, EUR45 million in assistance to small businesses was given.
He announced the extension of the “20 million to industry” scheme.
EUR 42 million will be dedicated to schemes to support international competiveness, innovation, e-Businesses, R%D, environment and start-ups.
Moreover, he announced the allocation of funds from 4th call to 200 further businesses.
Fenech added that the High Energy Users Scheme which currently applied only in Malta would also be extended to Gozitian industry.
More incentives towards enterprise
He announced the continuation of the BioMalta Campus with an investment of EUR38 million, as well as the continuation of construction works in the Bulebel, Hal Far, Corradino, Mosta and Xewkija totaling EUR17 million.
Fenech added that the continuation of the three child care centres within industrial estates.
The Finance Minister also announced the revision to start-ups in Corradino and the development of a plug-in/plug-out facility for ICT and Digital Content Businesses.
Finally, the incentives to attract international film productions will be increased –rebate for production will be increased from 20% to 23% and will increase to 25% if Malta is featured as Malta.